High pH problem in shrimp-only planted nano tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Question High pH problem in shrimp-only planted nano tank

Hi

I have a couple of fresh water well-planted tank and about 10 months ago, I started a shrimp only tank just for the fun of breeding them. That was my first attempt at shrimp so after alot of reading, I decided to play safe [for now] and start with Red Cherry Shrimp.

These shrimp are supposed to breed like crazy from what I've read on the internet.. No one seems to have problem with them AT ALL.

Guess what ? In 10 months, NONE of my shrimp got babys.. Not even eggs in there belly, nothing.

Since then I've tried ALOT of different things but nothing has worked.

One of the problem that might be the source, is the high pH in the tank. My tap water is a flat pH of 7.0. I have a a electronic pH meter and I double-check it from time to time with a pH test also.

I have no idea why, but after 24h of a water change, the pH always raise to 8.0-8.1. I have 6 other tank and all the other tank are stable at 7.4-7.6 so it's not my water.

I was about to try Seachem Acid Buffer/Alkaline Buffer but I'm a little bit worry about that espacially because quantity will be an issue with only 5gallon so I decided to post here see what you guys think about it.

Here are all the infos that might be usefull to help me:

Shrimp: 12 red cherry shrimp (they are not the original from when I started the tank)
Tank: 5 gallons
Temperature: 78F
Age: 11 months
Amonia: 0ppm
Nitrine: 0ppm
Nitrate: ~5ppm
Cooper: 0ppm
GH: 3.36 (60mg/L)
KH: 2.24 (40mg/L)
pH: 8-8.1
Tap water pH: 7.0
Filtration: foam, CupriSorb*, Purigen, Matrix (not MatrixCarbon)
Filter: AquaClear 20 (at about 66% speed)
Substrate: Seachem Flourite Black (I changed to that about 3 weeks ago because the girl at my LFS told me that the white crushed rock I was using as a substrate might raise the pH.. but it didn't help and I don't know if you've ever changed the substrate in a planted tank but.. anyway )

* I added CupriSorb about 2 month ago because I moved to an new "old" house with cooper pipe about 3 months ago and I tested the water and I had 0.1ppm of cooper in it. I don't think it's enough to hurt the shrimp but hey.. I have nothing else to test

- I do my weekly 20-30% water change
- I use Aqua-Plus Water Conditioner (I've also tried Seachem Prime but it's too concentred to mesure corretly for a 5g)
- I give my shrimp some really really small bites of algea waffle every other day that I usually give to my plecos (no, not in this tank) (they usually finish it within 20-30minutes)

Untill last week I was giving this tank 0.4ml twice a week of Florish Excell but I started giving that about 2 months ago thinking it would help my plant but there's not enough light anyway so I stoped that.

Here are some picture of the tank:



This is the side view:



Other side:



And finally, this one has nothing to do with my problem:



After 10 months to trying about anything I could think of, I'm open to new Idea and I'm also willing to try about anything..

Thanks alot!

- hetile

Last edited by hetile; 03-05-2009 at 06:30 AM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 03:04 AM
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Is your filter...HOF create water agitation on the surface and as a result Ph goes up.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 03:07 AM
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People use canister filter for better result. I have a 5.5 with PH at 6.2, but once my co2 is running out in a few hours PH start to raise up. You can try DIY co2 system and that would bring your ph down and help the plants as well.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 03:31 AM
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i have no problem with my hob upping the ph but i would definently use CO2 for your plants and the ph and i would lower the temperature down to about 74 at least..
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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hey

there's very little water agitation of the surface since the water level is above the output of the filter. After 5-6 days, there might be a little more because of evaporation but pH raise alot faster then that.

the goal is to get the shrimp to breed, not really the plant to grow but if adding co2 to the tank help control my pH, i'm willing to give it a try. But it does not feel like fixing the source problem

suggestion received:

- change filter to canister (does canister for 5g exist?)
- lower temperature to 74F
- add co2
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 08:11 AM
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It really is most likely b/c of the pH swing. Nothing to do w/ HOBs, canisters or CO2. You've got hardness issues. If you've got 7.0 out of the tap, and it rises to 8 +, something in the tank is leeching into the water. As I don't see any rocks in the tank, I would assume it was the old gravel. Did you empty and wash the tank before adding the flourite? If not, you probably still have sediment from the old gravel in the tank. Have you tested your gH and kH before and after a WC?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brohawk View Post
It really is most likely b/c of the pH swing.
This is the only thing I can also come up with at the moment since I've tried almost everything else.. But I still haven't figured a way of controlling that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brohawk View Post
You've got hardness issues. If you've got 7.0 out of the tap, and it rises to 8 +, something in the tank is leeching into the water. As I don't see any rocks in the tank, I would assume it was the old gravel. Did you empty and wash the tank before adding the flourite? If not, you probably still have sediment from the old gravel in the tank. Have you tested your gH and kH before and after a WC?
Well no, I did not completely empty the tank/clean when I did the substrate change. I removed all the shrimp, then removed about 50% of the water from the middle-top of the tank to get some "clean" water out of it, then removed all the plant, then the substrate. Of course at that point water was really brown-cloudy so I waited about an hour for the "stuff" to go on the bottom of the thank and I used a gravel cleaner to suck out all the stuff there. After that I had about 1/3 of the water in the tank and added the new substrate, re-planted everything, added about 2/3 of the water I took initially then filled the tank with clean water. I left it run for maybe another hour, and re-acclimated the shrimp and voila.. Since then, I've done about 3-4 25-30% WC

I haven't tested the gH/kH before and after water change.. I will do that tonight and post the result. I will also test the gH/kH of my tap water. I will also test the gH/kH of one of my 25g tank with about the same configuration.

But what you way make sense.. There might be some sediment in the tank but is that enough to increase my pH ? If so.. what would you do to fix that ?

And about the hardness issue.. I'm a bit lost but, I seems to have a low kH meaning my water does'nt have a good buffer capacity so the pH raise/swing more quickly right? So would product like Seachem Acid/Alkaline Buffer help stabilize that or that would be a temproray fix only?

And finnaly, about co2 (I don't want to START with this because it feels like patching the problem instead of fixing it) but i've found this:


http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/khgh.html

So I guess I could assume that right now, I should have about 0.6ppm of CO2 in my tank and to get to where I should be I would need to raise the co2 level to about 8ppm ?

Thanks!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 10:13 PM
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Well, it's normal for ph to increase slightly over the 24 hours after being removed from the tap, as the dissolved co2 comes out of solution. However, your situation does seem to be different, as that is a pretty large change. The only variable that I could come up with is the CupriSorb. I've never even heard of it, let alone used it, but this guy says it can increase ph

http://www.petfish.net/forum/index.php?topic=69443.0

Mike


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 10:15 PM
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Oh, I wouldn't recommend the buffers for ph. They are temporary, at best, and mess with other water parameters as well.

Also, those ph, kh, co2 charts are inaccurate in the majority of cases, due to other buffers/compounds in the water

Mike


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 10:27 PM
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Good, do the tap, before and after tests. CO2 isn't even a patch let alone a fix. Your pH is a product of your kH, and only goes down "artificially" w/ addition of CO2--but the hardness is still there. Shrimp don't care so much about pH, but rather the hardness levels that cause that pH. The above kH/pH chart is notoriously inaccurate, especially if you have wood in the tank. Stop worrying about the pH as I said though. It is an indication of your kH, so lowering your pH should involve lowering your kH. If you did in fact have a low kH in your tank, you'd see a pH drop, not a rise. The Seachem acid buffer you mention will be only temporary and actually cause more swings, as it doesn't soften the water, but merely adds acid that lowers your pH for a moment, until your water's hardness pushes it back up.

Depending on what old gravel you had in there (I'm guessing you had something like crushed coral?) there could definitely be very tiny particles/dust left over that are constantly dissolving into the tank. Definitely enough to raise your hardness/pH that much, especially w/ the small size of your tank. Let us know what your before/after tests come out to be and if hardness is the confirmed problem, we can go from there. But, you probably have 2 options ahead of you: 1) empty and clean the whole tank out, and put NEW, uncontaminated flourite in, or 2) wait it out for the next 3 - 9 months, maybe even more, until the particles have completely dissolved and been removed via WCs--no guarantees there.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpodolan View Post
Well, it's normal for ph to increase slightly over the 24 hours after being removed from the tap, as the dissolved co2 comes out of solution. However, your situation does seem to be different, as that is a pretty large change. The only variable that I could come up with is the CupriSorb. I've never even heard of it, let alone used it, but this guy says it can increase ph

http://www.petfish.net/forum/index.php?topic=69443.0
Yup, could also be the CupriSorb. There have been many discussions on this forum about copper in old pipes being hardly a worry. Especially if you're not using preheated tap water via the water heater. You could try skipping CupriSorb next WC and see if you get different readings.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brohawk View Post
Yup, could also be the CupriSorb. There have been many discussions on this forum about copper in old pipes being hardly a worry. Especially if you're not using preheated tap water via the water heater. You could try skipping CupriSorb next WC and see if you get different readings.
Ditto.

Remove CupriSorb. For your water changes, fill a bucket with the amount of water you need with COLD tap water. Dechlorinate with Prime. Yes, it's important you use Prime, and basically only Prime. Heat to room/tank temperature using a heater or microwaved cold tap water.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Here are the result of the test:

Tap water (nothing else): 0.84 (15mg/L) (between 1 and 2 drops*)
Before WC: 2.24 (40mg/L) (4 drops*)
After WC: 1.68 (30mg/L) (3 drops*)

I also tested another of my tank, last WC was 5 days ago and it tested at 1.12 (20mg/L)

*This was tested using Nutrafin KH/GH test kit.

I don't know how to interpret those results other then the water seems to have very little buffering capacity right from the tap..

I've also tested CO2 level of the water and it's bellow 2ppm (my test kit don't go bellow 1 drop)

As for CupriSorb, I'll remove it but it's not the source of the problem since I had this problem long before adding it to the filtration system.

I've purchased a new bag of Florite and I'll do brohawk's option 1 this weekend even if it's a pain, I don't like option 2 . Should I do a 100% water change ? What about filtration system ?

I have no idea what was the substrate before. It was some cheap substrate chosen by my GF at the LFS for it's look not for it's real value

Thanks alot for trowing new idea to me guys, at least now I have some new stuff to test
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 02:40 AM
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Well, it seems to me that this is possibly two different problems that you have seen. It is possible that your old substrate was crushed coral (or contained it), which caused the previous problems with ph.

Now that it has been removed, there could be some residue/dust left over, as brohawk mentioned. It is also possible that now the CupriSorb has taken the place of the old substrate in increasing the ph(or a combination of the two), as has been suggested by some anecdotal evidence from the internet. The only way to find out is to remove it and see what happens after some water changes/time

EDIT: When I have done substrate changes in the past, I have found that completely emptying the tank and rinsing it out works fine (with the fish in a bucket in the meantime). You can then add the new substrate to a clean tank, add new water, re-acclimate the fish, and hook the filter back up. As long as this is done in a reasonable amount of time, the bacteria in the filter will still be alive, plus the plants will also help prevent a mini or full-cycle

Mike


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 03:34 AM
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Do as mpodolan suggests. I'd also empty the filter water but not clean the media, and refill w/ conditioned, appropriate temp water immediately so you don't kill the bacteria in it--w/ your small tank, if you've got harder water still in the filter, you'll soon see it in the tank.

Also, stop worrying about your H2O's buffering capacity. You've got soft tap water. That's a good thing. Especially if you plan to move into CRS and other more sensitive shrimp later. Your tap water's pH is neutral so buffering isn't so important, especially w/ your low bioload, i.e. waste isn't going to acidify your water and eat up your carbonates--which you can increase w/ baking soda if/when you get stable water params between WCs.
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